1972 McLaren M16B

Team McLaren has scored three Indy 500 victories, in the open wheeled American racing series. The first win was in 1972 with Mark Donohue piloting the McLaren M16B, and Johnny Rutherford scored two victories in 1974 and 1976. The following tells the story of the 1974 race.

It was Johnny Rutherford's second year with Team McLaren and a number of rule changes had been introduced which were aimed at reducing the overall speed of the cars. These included reducing the size of the rear wings, lowering the turbo boost by at least seven mph from the previous year, and reducing the fuel capacity by 30 gallons, down from 75 to 45 gallons.

Qualifying was spread out over two consecutive Saturdays, and during Rutherford's first session his engine blew up. Despite a very quick engine change, he was not allowed to qualify until the following Saturday. On the second qualifying day he was the second fastest, but had to start the race in 25th place.

On race day itself, Rutherford had a sensational start, moving up through the field to third place by lap 12. Later in the race he moved up a place and was battling with race leader A.J Foyt. Foyt was black flagged for oil smoke on lap 139 and then later broke the scavenger pump on his turbocharger which caused his retirement.

Rutherford took the lead, which he held for 59 of the last 60 laps, only losing it briefly to Bobby Unser when he made his final pitstop. Rutherford went on to take victory at an average speed of 255 kph, lapping the entire field except for Unser who finished second.

Source - McLaren

Vehicle Profiles

1972 McLaren M16B vehicle information

Racer

Chassis Num: 236884

Founded in 1963 by race car driver Bruce McLaren, McLaren cars raced at Indianapolis from 1970 to 1982 and won three times. McLaren has been involved in all forms of motorsport including Formula 1, Can Am and Indy. In recent years, they were battling....[continue reading]

Racer
Chassis #: 236884 

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